How to open pen drive without formatting/losing any data - 3 solutions

This page tells how to open a pen stick (also called thumb drive) without formatting or losing any data when it needs to be formatted after connected to Windows computer like Windows XP/Vista/7/8/8.1/10.

Solution #1 - Open usb drive in Disk Management without formatting

You may open usb stick in disk management if it does not open in computer file explorer. The open option is available if you right click the usb drive in disk management. And it would help open and get access to the usb drive files.

open usb without formatting

How to open disk management? This route: Right click 'This PC' -> Manage -> Disk Management.

If the open option nor the Explore option are both grayed out here for usb drive, you may try the #2 solution which would definitely work.

Solution #2 - Format flash drive without losing data in Windows

It's unable to open an unformatted pen stick without formatting when Windows PC says you have to format the USB stick, since formatting means to data loss. Then, what to do to open the pen stick without formatting?

iCare Data Recovery Pro Free is all you need to opening the pen stick that needs to be formatted and it lets you access file from the pen drive when it wants to reformat or even you mistakenly/accidentally formatted it, you can even try this free pen drive recovery tool to open your flash drive without formatting.

download data recovery software

Step1. Download iCare Pro Free, connect your usb drive to Windows 11/10/8/7. Select 'Deep Scan Recovery' that would let you open flash drive without formatting it.

select recovery
Step2. Choose your flash drive to let the tool open it for you

select drive

Step3. Once the program found your data, save them onto another device.

recover files

Solution #3 - How to Repair Damaged USB Flash Drive with free repair tool

Here is another tool that you may fix your damaged usb without formatting it. It is error-checking provided by Windows that you may get it repaired by its property. Here is the way to start the repairing.

This PC -> Flash Drive/SD, right click -> Properties

Right click usb drive propertiesRight click device and open its properties

Tools -> 'Check', and confirm the repairing.

Repair no media usb by error checkingRepair flash drive in Windows 10 without formatting

How to repair usb without formatting with error-checking

recommendIf this one does not work, try 8 free usb repair tools in Windows, if Mac? -> Try 7 usb repair tools in Mac

Does formatting erase everything? -> Yes

Is it possible to format a pen stick without erasing any data when it requires formatting? Usually, Yes, when a flash drive asked for formatting, all data would disappear. Windows asks to format a pen drive in order to open it when pen drive is not formatted.

"My USB drive asks to be formatted, but I do not want to do that because it contains many files. How do I format the disk without losing any file?"
Visit the following link to see the forum post that is related to open pen drive without formatting when it asks to be formatted:

Well, it is impossible to format a flash drive without losing data because it would wipe the thumb drive once you begin to format it. However, you have chance to get back the files erased by formatting before new data is written to the formatted disk.

"Can I open a RAW flash drive without formatting on Windows 7? Today, I connected my flash drive to my PC which runs Windows 7 OS, but the system prevented me from opening the flash drive. My PC pops up a message that flash drive needs to be formatted. Checking the Properties, flash drive became RAW file system. I don’t want to format it because I know that formatting will erase the flash drive and I will lose all data. Is there a way to open RAW flash drive without formatting it?"

recommendQuick fix: how to repair usb drive without formatting

"Should I format my flash drive when it turns to RAW file system on Windows 7? What will happen if I format it? Can I get back all inaccessible data after formatting flash drive from RAW to FAT32 on Windows 7? Or does anybody know other method to access a RAW flash drive without format?"

"I want to move some data from my memory card to flash drive, but the flash drive is inaccessible after connecting it to my Windows 7 computer. The flash drive changes to RAW format from the previous FAT32, so Windows 7 asks me to reformat the flash drive before I can open it. What can I do to recover deleted data from USB flash drive before reformat?"

raw usb flash driveusb flash file sytem raw unreadable

It is not possible to open a RAW flash drive without formatting, but it is able to get back lost data without opening the flash drive. What you need is to prevent previous inaccessible data from being overwritten and to rely on a data recovery tool.

recommendAlso read: how to recover pendrive without formatting


You have to format a USB pen drive when it says needs to be formatted if you want to open it normally. However, you may try command prompt or error-check tool to scan for errors if you want to open a corrupted pen drive which becomes inaccessible, unrecognizable or unreadable.

Recommend: bad blocks on usb? Please go to this article: Fix bad sectors>>

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Last updated on May 14, 2023

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Data Recovery Software Free Download > Fix Errors > Open Pen Drive without Formatting When Requires Formatting